Crime and Deviance Introduction

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  • Crime and Deviance Intro
    • Social Control
      • Two types:
        • Formal
          • Police, courts and the armed forces which are subject to control of the state.
          • Functionalists would argue that such action is needed where consensus is breaking down.
        • Informal
          • Family, school, media, religion etc all play a major role in social control through the socialisation process.
          • Functionalists would emphasise the positive and beneficial effects of such socialisation in helping people to live stable lives.
          • Marxists would argue that the process is repressive in Capitalist societies and is 'used' by the ruling class to maintain their dominance and privileged position.
    • Coercion
      • Used in informal control e.g. smacking a child
        • Strong pressures can be exerted
          • In all societies there is a system of rewards and punishments
    • Social control and punishment
      • Punishment is usually presented as a means of deterrence or protection for society in the modern world.
      • Durkheim was sceptical about this as he regarded punishment as essentially a form of vengeance.
      • Other sociologists such as Stan Cohen see punishment as essentially repressive and often acting in the interests of the ruling class.
      • When we think of social control we tend to think of the police and prisons however most control can be less obvious.
        • Language is a form of control. The top positions have their own language which others don't understand, this enables people like doctors to maintain their status.
        • Timetables are a means of control over time.
        • Labelling/ classification helps control people.
    • Cohen argues that there have been four great changes in the history of punishment:
      • 1) Increased state control, through setting up police forces, courts, prisons.
      • 2) SpecialisationWe now have different agencies to take care of different groups of deviants (the sick, the mad, the criminal)
      • 3) Segregation.Different groups are put in their own institutions - prisons, asylums, hospitals.
      • 4) Humane instead of physical punishments.
    • Deviance
      • Deviance is an act that goes against the dominant norms of society and which produces disapproval and possibly punishment
      • This may range from the minor (bad table manners) to the extreme (punching someone)
      • Some sociologists then distinguish between deviance and non-conformity
        • Deviance, which invokes moral disapproval e.g. adultery, homosexuality
        • Non-conformity which doesn't arouse such censure e.g. weird clothes, haircuts, piercings etc.

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